April 28, 2001 From: Cheddy Browne


Montserrat wants freedom from UK

There is a direct connection, between institutional racism and colonialism as practiced by the British administering power in relationship to their remaining colonies, in the Caribbean. As such, as an activist in the anti-colonial movement in the region and as a person who lives the reality of Colonialism on a daily basis, because I live in a British colony, I think it is of utmost importance that there be some vehicle that allows for existing colonies to be represented at the WCAR. My search and queries, have not found, so far, any category that fits the remaining colonies and the freedom fighters that continue to address the issue of the continuing colonial hold that the administering powers have on their remaining colonies.

The remaining colonies have been under a state of suppressed isolation for the past twenty years. Movements in the region that have given their energies towards combating what for them is an immense monster have a right to externalize and internationalize their struggle.

The UN Mandate on Decolonization expired in the year 2000.
The administering Powers have done everything in their power to thwart the right of the remaining colonies to become Self Determined PEOPLE. So far they have succeeded. Based on what I see going on and the responses that I have received from my inquiries so far, it appears that the remaining colonies are destined to remain colonies without even getting the opportunity to extend their struggle into the international arena.

I live on a small island. Have been struggling to bring some level of awareness on the issue of the right to be a Self Determined People, to the People of Montserrat for some 20 years now. Attempting to reverse systems put in place during the height of the British colonial era, in an attempt to remove their colonial hold over the island is not an easy task. Each island, exists in isolation. The population is small. The colony has no standing in the international arena when it comes to speaking for itself on issues that relate to it. The Administering Power speaks for its colonies and as such can give any position it desires to the world while internal to the colonies freedom fighters continue to struggle in isolation.

It is my submission, that Colonialism is one of the greatest contraventions of basic human rights that exist today. Our smallness in size, our isolation from global dynamics, and our exclusion from international conventions like these, make it even more difficult for us to represent ourselves. So, while all these international forums take place in many areas of the world on a regular basis, small island colonies continue to languish under the oppressive system of colonialism. It would appear, that the world is not even aware of the fact, that we exist.

The United Nations, recently extended the UN MANDATE on decolonization. The United Nations, recognizes, that the remaining colonies just cannot, by themselves, struggle to reverse the colonial hold that their Administering Powers have on them, within the framework that exists. It would appear, that the remaining colonies are destined to remain colonies forever.

Recognizing, that the remaining colonies in the Caribbean are Peopled by the descendants of the African slave trade, no greater example of Rampant, negligent, legal and authoritative racism exists than the colonial system still in place today that governs the remaining British colonies.

Colonialism when established, was the direct inheritor of, and the legal replacement of the system of slavery. As such, it was written and framed in the same racist framework as the Slavery system it replaced. It was designed, to insure that the stake holders in the system continued to reap the same benefits as before. Instead of brute force and fear which made the system of slavery work, a legal and authoritative approach was put in place to accomplish the same goals.

The system of Slavery established and reinforced mentally in the Society, much of the racism that exists today. The system of Colonialism reinforced it institutionally, and perpetuates it today in its most sinister and legally authoritative form.

Colonialism and Racism go together like hand and glove, shoes and socks, etc. They are cut from the same cloth. I could go on but I would hope that my point is clear.

The problem, as a colony the Administering Power, which is Great Britain, a member of the United nations, speaks for its colonies. So far, I have found no provisions any where in this conference that seeks to accommodate those freedom fighters still struggling against their Administering Powers to free their colonies from the colonial stranglehold.

Once again, I submit, that colonialism is the legalized expression of racism. The world, however, seems prepared to forget that colonies Still exist. The total and complete eradication of colonialism will bring to an end, the first phase, in the process of addressing the issue of racism. If we allow the administering powers to continue with their program of window dressing, which they are now implementing, in order to circumvent the United Nations Mandate on decolonisation t those of us who live in the remaining colonies are destined to remain colonies forever.

As a colonized People, we have the same right as every one else to be a Self Determined People. Coming out of the system of slavery and now still living under the oppressive system of colonialism, We have suffered and continue to suffer. We must not and should not be forgotten or traded off to the developed world. We may be small but we should not become pawns. We are human beings, and we are entitled to every human right available to the entire human family.

The most colonized area left in the world today is the Caribbean Sea. It is Peopled by Africans from the era of Slavery, and the European slave trading system. Colonies in the Caribbean are held by the USA, France, The Netherlands and England. Four of the worlds most Developed countries.

African People still colonized by Europeans and their descendants. That picture alone should express more than anything written here the deep seated position that racism holds in global dynamics. Here right before our eyes, as we make arrangements to hold a global international conference on racism we find, racism still being practiced by Europeans upon Africans, in its most legally and institutionally insidious form.

There are 5 remaining British colonies in the Caribbean. The majority Peoples in all these island colonies are Africans. The British for its own purposes have no intention of allowing these colonies to attain their independence. Those of us in these colonies who have been pushing for Our rights to be a Self Determined People must get Our plight and message into the international arena. Unless we do, the British will continue to obfuscate the issue while it continues its agenda of binding us securely to its "EMPIRE". We have no desire what so ever to be British citizens, nor do we wish to continue to be second and third class British subjects with no authority internally or externally to manage our own affairs.

The process of forming links and networking with the activists that will make it possible for us to overcome the tremendous odds that keep us colonized, exists in forums and conferences like WCAR. Provisions must be made, for the voices of the freedom fighters in the remaining colonies to be heard.

The writer of this piece, Chedmond Browne, is a Pan-African Activist from the Caribbean Region. A Lecturer and Writer on the History of African People. Our Past, Our Present and the synthesis of Past and Present to plan and implement our Future. He is also a legally elected representative of the People of MONTSERRAT.


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